With ski season revving into high gear, Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier, Breckenridge Mayor John Warner, and Dave November, Environmental Manager for Breckenridge Ski Resort joined Environment Colorado for a press conference at the base of one of the nation’s most visited ski slope. The speakers called for action to cut global warming pollution and protect outdoor recreation, an industry that could be the first major casualty of unchecked temperature increase. At the event, Environment Colorado released Too Much Pollution, a new report showing Colorado’s, and the nation’s, rising global warming pollution.
Speakers focused on the impacts that changes like declining pine forest, bark beetle, Aspen die off, and decreased snow pact would have on Colorado’s tourism industry, especially in the mountain communities. Summit County estimates that it will cost $1 billion to thin all the forests devastated by beetle kill in 2007 alone. Even a slightly shorter ski season could cost several thousand County residents their jobs 2017.
“Global warming is threatening our most precious local natural resources. These changes could mean devastating downhill slide for our local economy, said Karn Stiegelmeier, Summit County Commissioner. “Colorado’s high country is already seeing it in more brown and dying evergreens, killed off by pine beetles that are overrunning the forests with ever warmer winters.”
Environment Colorado’s new report Too Much Pollution shows that Colorado’s and the nation’s global warming pollution is worse than ever. The report uses the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy on fossil fuel consumption by state to look at trends in carbon dioxide emissions. Colorado ranks 5th nationwide for increase of global warming pollution since 1990, according to the new analysis of government data released today. Additional key findings from the report include:
- From 1990 to 2007, Colorado experienced some of the fastest emissions growth of any state in the nation. Electricity generation and the transportation sectors were responsible for the bulk of the increase.
- In Colorado, electricity generation was the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel consumption – responsible for43 percent of the state’s emissions in 2007. The state is heavily reliant on coal, the dirtiest of all fuels.
“Colorado’s deserve strong action to stop global warming, and the senate has a chance to deliver on that,” said Keith Hay, energy advocate for Environment Colorado. “The New Energy Economy shows that we can drive the economy without driving up pollution. By moving to clean energy, we can cut pollution, recharge the economy, and create millions of new clean energy jobs across the country. ”
For decades, America’s use of fossil fuels – and the global warming pollution that results – has been on the rise nationally and in states across the country. For Colorado, global warming means a lot of things, but the impact that is among the most concerning is less snowpack and shorter snow seasons.
“Global warming is a problem that we are feeling locally,” said Mayor John Warner, Mayor of the town of Breckenridge. “Doing nothing to stop rising pollution puts lives and livelihoods at risk in mountain communities like Breckenridge.”
The science shows that the United States must cut its global warming pollution by 35 percent by 2020 to be able to stop the worst effects of global warming. The report made several recommendations including:
- Federal government action to build on the progress made by states by passing strong clean energy legislation,
- Adopting common sense EPA rules to cut pollution from aging coal plants and big smokestack industries.
- Passage of legislation that includes a strong cap on global warming pollution.
“Senate action on comprehensive energy legislation that cuts global warming pollution is important to our business, and the health of Colorado’s mountain economies.” Said Dave November, the environmental manager for Breckenridge Ski Resort. “We’re taking this seriously and focusing on how to reduce our own impact, by investing in renewable energy and efficiency.”